Amazon’s new battery-powered Echo can go with you everywhere

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Echo-Input-Portable-Edition
You can't own one yet.
Photo: Amazon

Those who consider Amazon Alexa one of their closest friends can now take her almost anywhere with the new portable Echo speaker.

The confusingly named Echo Input Portable Smart Speaker Edition has a built-in battery that lasts up to 11 hours in between charges. But you can’t buy one (yet) if you don’t live in India.

Apple kicks reviews off online store

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holidaygiftguide
You won't find any reviews here.
Photo: Apple

Just before the holiday shopping season kicks into full swing Apple has decided to make it harder to see reviews of the products it sells online.

The Ratings and Reviews section of Apple’s online store was recently removed from all product pages with no word on why the change was made.

Apple spends ‘billions’ overhauling Apple Maps app

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Apple has spent 'billions' overhauling its Apple Maps app
Apple threw around some big cash to take on Google.
Photo: 401(K) 2012/Flickr CC

Apple says it spent unspecified “billions” on its updated Apple Maps app.

Cupertino’s revelation about the Apple Maps expenditures came amid answers to questions from the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, which is currently carrying out antitrust probes into Apple, Google, Amazon and Facebook.

Amazon one-ups Apple with free music on iOS

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Amazon-Music
Start enjoying it today.
Photo: Amazon

Start blasting those holiday tunes with free Amazon Music on iOS.

The streaming service can now be enjoyed without a paid subscription for the first time on iPhone and iPad, giving it a big advantage over Apple Music.

But just like other free music plans, it does come with ads … and some restrictions.

iPad growth enjoys a boost as Amazon skyrockets in Q3 2019

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Logitech Slim Folio Pro review
Apple's market share climbed 4% last quarter.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

iPad enjoyed steady growth during the third quarter of this year, giving Apple an even greater share of the worldwide tablet market.

But it is Amazon that will be most delighted with the latest figures. Shipments of its Fire slates more than doubled year-over-year as a result of generous Prime Day discounts.

Amazon tests workout-tracking earbuds, but Apple’s could be better

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Amazon tests workout-tracking earbuds, but Apple’s could be better
Amazon is working on step-tracking tech for its wireless earbuds.
Photo: Amazon

Amazon is reportedly testing workout-tracking software for its Amazon Echo Buds. While this feature is seemingly still in its early testing phase, fitness-measuring earbuds could be a massive deal.

The good news? Apple is working on something very similar — and possibly even more advanced.

Apple steps up smart home fight against Amazon and Google

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The HomePod -- a beautiful body with the brain of an idiot.
Apple wants to make a bigger mark on your home.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Apple is ramping up its smart home efforts in a bid to better compete against Amazon and Google, according to a new report.

Cupertino is said to be hiring for a team that will be focused on revamping HomeKit software and devices. It also wants to encourage more third-party manufacturers to support its platform.

Spotify is adding 2x as many monthly subscribers as Apple Music

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Spotify is adding 2x as many monthly subscribers as Apple Music
Spotify reported some great fiscal quarterly earnings.
Photo: Spotify

Spotify’s third fiscal quarter figures show that it is growing considerably faster than Apple Music.

“We continue to feel very good about our competitive position in the market,” the streaming giant noted in a statement. “Relative to Apple, the publicly available data shows that we are adding roughly twice as many subscribers per month as they are. Additionally, we believe that our monthly engagement is roughly 2x as high and our churn is at half the rate.”

Apple TV app is now available on Amazon Fire TV devices

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Apple TV app is now available on Amazon Fire TV devices
And just in time for Apple TV+, too!
Photo: Amazon

With just days to spare before the launch of Apple TV+, Apple has brought its TV app to Amazon streaming devices. This means that owners of the Fire TV Stick 4K, second-gen Fire TV Stick and Fire TV Basic Edition can watch shows from Apple’s streaming service and more.

Amazon has said support for other Fire TV devices will follow. That will include the likes of the Nebula sound bar, Fire TV Edition smart TVs, Fire TV Cube, and more.